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Food prices in Canada rose in December. Here’s what cost you more

Food costs rose at a faster rate than headline inflation last month, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report from Statistics Canada.

The report, published Tuesday, shows overall inflation rose to 3.4 per cent year-over-year in December, while food prices rose 4.7 per cent.

This is the same rate increase seen in November, the CPI noted.

Over the past several months, the CPI report showed signs of deceleration, but December’s report bucked the trend, showing a rise in costs.

Inflation accelerated “sharply” in December, one expert told in an email Tuesday.

“One month of strong inflation doesn’t derail a trend, but it’s certainly enough to rule out any softening of language at the Bank of Canada’s upcoming meeting,” said Jules Boudreau, senior economist at Mackenzie Investments.

The December CPI focused on gasoline as a key factor in the headline inflation increase in December. Other costs driving the metric upward included airfares, fuel oil, passenger vehicles and rent.

And the report showed Canadians were paying more for food, in particular, though it did not explain what led to the rise in grocery bills.


Among the items that saw the steepest increase in price is fruit juice, according to the CPI.

In December, the product saw a year-over-year inflation rate of 17.5 per cent, and a 3.5 per cent jump from the average cost in November.

This chart shows the year-to-year and month-to-month inflation increases for some foods in Canada.

Preserved fruit and fruit preparations were also more costly in December.

These items had an inflation rate of 13.4 per cent year-over-year in December, and a 1.9 per cent increase from November.

While, shoppers still paid more than they did earlier in the year, the CPI showed fresh fruit rose in price at a slower pace than other categories. These items had a year-over-year rate of 4.6 per cent, which is a 0.8 increase from November.

Fresh vegetables saw similar small increases, although the products’ year-over-year inflation rate is higher, at 8.3 per cent.

Frozen and dried vegetables also increased in price, but not as much as fruit, the CPI data showed.

From November to December, items in this category had an inflation rate of 2.8 per cent. This resulted in an 11.4 per cent year-over-year increase in December.

Edible fats and oils did decreased in price from November to December, but the items were still at an inflation rate of 12.8 per cent year-over-year.

As people spread holiday cheer, cookies and crackers were also more costly in December.

With a 12.6 per cent inflation rate year-over-year in December, these items increased in price by 2.3 per cent from November.

The inflation rate of some meat products decreased in December, the CPI noted.

However, this was not the case for fresh and frozen beef, which rose to a year-over-year inflation rate of 10.6 per cent last month.


While overall food inflation increased in December, some foods did drop in price.

The cost of lettuce had a huge, 21.9 year-over-year price decrease, despite month-to-month prices increasing 2.7 per cent.

The CPI pegged tomatoes as having an 11.3 per cent annual decrease in December.

Bananas, which have stayed relatively the same in price, saw a 2.4 per cent year-over-year price decrease. This was also seen between November and December.

The egg inflation rate was 3.1 per cent year-over-year last month, while a small month-to-month decrease of one per cent was also noted.

Cheese products decreased in price in November by two per cent, but remained at a higher year-over-year rate of 2.4 per cent. 

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